Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 4/25

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Duran Slam

Jarren Duran (BOS): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

After back-to-back disappointing years for Jarren Duran, the former high-ranking prospect may be turning a corner in his third go around at the big league level. Last night, Duran led the Red Sox in their pummeling of the Orioles’ pitching staff, as he went 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI in Boston’s 8-6 victory.

Duran started his night by turning on a Kyle Bradish curveball that came in on him and roped it down the right-field line for a double. He followed that up with his biggest hit of the day, crushing a fastball that was up but over the plate for a grand slam to dead-center at 107.8 mph. Duran also rocketed a single at 106.7 mph to center field in the eighth inning.

After that big day at the plate, Duran’s slash line is up to an incredible .387/.417/.645, and it may be time to start taking notice of the 26-year-old centerfielder.

Duran’s batted ball data looks much improved from what we saw from him in limited showings the last two seasons. Perhaps most importantly, he’s cut his groundball rate significantly. Combined over 2021 and 2022 he was putting the ball on the ground 50.2% of the time. That number is down to just 27.8% in the early going this year.

Not only is Duran keeping the ball off the ground, he’s also hitting it much harder. His barrel rate is at an absurd 22.2% after he posted just a 6.7% mark the last two years, and he’s already set a new career high in exit velocity at 111.6 mph.

There are still some troubling signs for Duran, however. His strikeout rate is still just as high as ever30.6%. He’s also thriving in part due to a .524 BABIP that will assuredly come back down soon.

Eight games’ worth of data isn’t enough to make a clear call on whether Duran’s improvements are here to stay, but I think he’s at least worth a prospective add in five outfielder or 12+ team leagues while we see if the good times continue. He’s currently rostered in 13% of Yahoo! and 4% of ESPN leagues. If you need outfield help, I’d pick him up and hope for the best, and if he comes crashing back down soon, no harm no foul.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:

Danny Jansen (TOR): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

Toronto entered the year with what looked like the best-hitting catcher tandem in the sport, but both Jansen and Alejandro Kirk have struggled out of the gate. Jansen blasted his second and third home runs of the year in the Blue Jays’ 7-0 win over the White Sox last night, so it looks like he may finally be snapping out of the cold streak. He’s hitting .205/.286/.432, but until he starts playing more than every two or three days, he isn’t worth rostering outside of two catcher leagues.

Yan Gomes (CHC): 4-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

In sharp contrast to Jansen, Gomes is a catcher who’s blowing his preseason expectations out of the water. The 35-year-old backstop entered the season with a career .712 OPS in 3,500+ plate appearances, so it’s quite shocking to see him look like a bat-first player with a .888 OPS in his first 57 plate appearances this year. Last night Gomes beat up on the Padres’ pitching staff, getting a hit in all of his plate appearances and taking Blake Snell deep in his first at-bat as the Cubs won 6-0. Gomes is splitting catching duties with Tucker Barnhart, but he may be worth a look in two-catcher leagues if you want to try to ride out this hot streak.

Ozzie Albies (ATL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

After injuries kept Albies off the field for much of 2022, he’s making up for lost time this year. The Braves’ second baseman homered twice against Miami’s bullpen yesterday, and he’s up to seven big flies already. Albies is slashing .263/.297/.526 and if his 12% barrel rate sticks throughout the season, he could be on his way to breaking his career-high of 30 home runs from 2021.

Chris Taylor (LAD): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Taylor’s 2023 campaign has gotten off to a rocky start, but he came through in the clutch for the Dodgers last night. With his team trailing 7-5 in the eighth inning, Taylor took a Colin Holderman sinker on the inside edge of the zone and turned it into a go-ahead three-run homerthe ball traveled 422 feet to left-center field, making it the fourth furthest hit ball of the day. Even with his three-hit showing last night, the Dodgers’ super utilityman is hitting just .163/.236/.469 and his 38.2% strikeout rate is one of the highest in the league.

Nathaniel Lowe (TEX): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Lowe broke out last year, hitting .302 with 27 home runs, and while the Rangers’ lineup has been much better this season, it hasn’t been because of Lowe. He’s started slow, slashing .253/.308/.432 after his two extra-base hit performance yesterday. Lowe’s strikeout, walk, flyball, and pull rates are all in the same range as they were last year, but his barrel rate is down from 9.9% to 4.2% and his BABIP has fallen from .363 to .290. He’s cut his swing rate by nearly seven percentage points as it’s down to 45.3%, the same level it was pre-breakout. I wonder if he’s taking too many good pitches that he could be driving to the outfield. I’d advise patience if you roster Lowe. I think he’ll figure things out sooner than later.

Keibert Ruiz (WSH): 3-4, HR, R, RBI, BB.

Ruiz came up as a bat-first catching prospect but has failed to deliver on the exciting offensive upside thus far into his career. Last night he belted his second home run of the young season, and he’s now hitting .288/.350/.425. That’s good for a 113 wRC+ which would be his best mark in a full major league season. It sometimes takes catching prospects longer to develop at the plate given how much work it is learning to manage a major league pitching staff, so this year could finally be Ruiz delivering on some of that prospect hype.

Byron Buxton (MIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.

The Twins put up six runs on the Yankees for the second straight day, with Buxton playing a large part in another Minnesota victory over their long-time playoff foe. Buxton had Nestor Cortes‘ number, with both of his knocks coming against the left-handed starter. Buxton’s now hitting .244/.308/.463 with four home runs and a 33% strikeout rate. It’s been weird to see a player with Buxton’s elite tool set essentially turn into an all-or-nothing slugger, but that’s where we are.

Jarred Kelenic (SEA): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI.

Kelenic’s breakout continued yesterday with a three-hit showing against the Phillies. The former top prospect jumped all over Bailey Falter, doubling against him in the second and homering against him in the fifth. He did finally make an out against Falter in the sixth, but even that was a hard-hit lineout. Kelenic is absolutely raking. His 210 wRC+ ranks him as the best hitter in the league.

Yuli Gurriel (MIA): 2-4, HR, R, RBI, SB.

In 200 games played over the last three years, Gurriel has just a combined 24 home runs and nine stolen bases, so seeing him post a combo meal yesterday was surprising to say the least. The Marlins brought in the longtime Astro first baseman this offseason, but he hasn’t cracked the lineup often. His .293/.341/.463 slash line looks good, but he’s only started three of Miami’s last 10 games.

Brenton Doyle (COL): 3-4, 2B, R, RBI, 2 SB.

In just his second career game, Doyle flashed some fun fantasy upside. Two of the 24-year-old centerfielder’s hits were hit hard and he stole two bases in the Rockies’ 5-1 win in Cleveland. Doyle looked great in Double-A last year, hitting 23 home runs and stealing 23 bases while slashing .246/.287/.450. Doyle got the call to the majors to fill in for an injured Yonathan Daza, so his playing time moving forward isn’t guaranteed. He’s had less than 100 plate appearances at Triple-A, so it could be a rough adjustment for Doyle especially because he routinely posted 30%+ strikeout rates in the minors. If you’re totally desperate for stolen bases, I could see giving him a look in 12+ team leagues if he can hold onto a starting job.

Mike Yastrzemski (SF): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Yastrzemski is looking the best we’ve seen him at the plate since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Yesterday he homered against Cardinals’ starter Jake Woodford in the fourth inning and then played a pivotal role late in the Giants’ comeback victory. In the ninth inning, he ripped an RBI double against Ryan Helsley, and then came around to score on Blake Sabol’s walk-off two-run home run. Yastrzemski is now slashing .291/.315/.535 with five home runs. Interestingly, his walk rate is at a career-low 3.4% despite a career-best 15.6% chase rate.

Corbin Carroll (ARI): 3-4, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 SB, BB.

Carroll stuffed the stat sheet yesterday, finishing a home run shy of the cycle. The rookie outfielder is living up to his lofty preseason expectations, slashing .303/.354/.551 with four home runs, eight RBI, 17 runs, and 10 stolen bases. Impressively, he’s already adjusting well to big league pitching, dropping his strikeout rate from 27% in his 115 plate appearance debut in 2022 to 21.9% this year. We’re watching a star in the making.


Mark Steubinger

Mark loves everything talking and writing about baseball - from every fantasy league format you can imagine to the unending greatness of Mike Trout. Mark has a degree in Sports Communication from Bradley University and works in radio production. He lives in central Illinois where his TV is permanently tuned to Chicago Cubs games.

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